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“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” ~ Helen Keller
I can be cynical about today’s vaporized, shrink-wrapped, and over-dramatic, “Be mine, or I’ll die,” romanticism-dipped Valentine’s Day.
Can you tell?
However, I loved how Valentine’s Day was expressed in my elementary school days.
The whole atmosphere of the holiday felt exciting, authentic, and warm. Together, we hand-decorated our classes with hearts and flowers—the smell of glue, the shades of pinks, lavender, pastels.
And the candy was incredible! The different flavors of sweet, sour, chalky, and chocolate hit the spot with their energizing properties that would carry me through until dinner time rolled around when the sugar buzz would wane.
The best part? Valentine’s Day was a celebration where we displayed that we cared for each other—it didn’t matter if you were the “loner” or “popular.” Everyone felt like they mattered. A collective, “I see you.”
To me, elementary Valentine’s Day celebrations we’re epitomized in two old-world, ancient words:
1. Agape. An ancient Greek-derived notion of undying concern and love for others, distinct from erotic sensations, emotional affection, or personal benefit—authentic and sacred regard for God and humanity. An unsurpassed, other-worldly love worthy of a response described by the apostle Paul, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things.”
2. Namaste. “The light in me bows to the light in you,” is commonly heard in yoga circles. It’s an ancient Indic Sanskrit term of adoration and homage for another. It’s me acknowledging the divine has danced within me—because of you.
We all deserve to feel celebrated; it’s vital to feel loved. Why not use this holiday as we did in elementary school?
As an adult, how often do we express that we’re proud of another adult? If you’re like most, it’s seldom—which makes me sad. This holiday allows us to express admiration to friends and family members who might need some encouragement during these challenging times.
It doesn’t have to be a physical postal letter anymore. Sending physical cards may seem too overwhelming. Consider a thoughtful text message—perhaps a small paragraph with a corresponding meme or GIF.
I challenge you to step up your care and concerns for others besides your romantic partner. Give the gift of your attention in a 30-second message of goodwill this Valentine’s Day!
Happy Valentine’s Day to you!